US: Charred cities, shattered landscape

Minneapolis (US): It was yet another night of protests in the US over the killing of a Black man by a White cop, which show no sign of ebbing. Veering out of control and spreading to a dozen cities, the mayhem left every corner of the country charred, marked by shattered landscapes. But the violence is not just over a random incident: It is a manifestation of years of festering frustrations over the mistreatment of African-Americans at the hands of police.

Cars and businesses were torched, the words “I can't breathe” were spray-painted all over buildings, a fire in a trash bin burned near the gates of the White House, and thousands marched peacefully through city streets to protest the death of George Floyd; he died on Monday after the police officer pressed his knee on his neck until he stopped breathing. People set fire to police cars, threw bottles at police officers and busted windows of storefronts, carrying away TVs and other items even as some protesters urged them to stop.

In New York City, there were dangerous confrontations as officers made arrests and cleared streets. A video showed two NYPD cruisers lurching into a crowd of demonstrators who were pushing a barricade against one of them and pelting it with objects. Los Angeles deployed the National Guard for the first since the 1992 riots when the police officers who beat up black man Rodney King walked free of all charges.

At least 25 cities clamped emergency curfews to try to bring rioting and looting under control, including San Francisco, Atlanta, Louisville, Los Angeles, Portland, Columbia, South Carolina, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Seattle. “We're sick of it. The cops are out of control,” protester Olga Hall said in Washington DC. “They're wild. There's just been too many dead boys.” President Donald Trump appeared to cheer the tough tactics, commending the National Guard deployment in Minneapolis, declaring “No games!” and saying police in New York City “must be allowed to do their job!” The damage in US cities came as many Americans plan to return to in-person church services for the first time in several weeks since the pandemic forced a ban on large gatherings.

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